March 16, 2024

Mailchimp, ConvertKit, or Beehiiv: Which ESP is right for you?

If you're a creator looking to own your audience and sell more through email, there are only three ESPs (Email Service Providers) I recommend: Mailchimp, ConvertKit, or Beehiiv.

Each is different, and depending on your intended outcome, all three have pros and cons, which I'll get into below.

But before I get started, there's one thing you should know:

Picking the right ESP is crucial for newsletter success. Don't take this step lightly.

Once you start using an ESP, it can be very hard to switch. This is especially true if you've made lots of automations and need to keep historical reports.

Take time to understand what you're getting into. Find the ESP that suits your needs and, most importantly, that can grow with you.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at our three options, starting with the OG—Mailchimp.


Mailchimp has been around for over two decades now. They've been important in the growing, evolving, and maturing newsletter space. They've led on all fronts and brought email newsletters into the mainstream.

They set the standard and, to this day, are an incredibly viable option for hosting your newsletter.

Let's look at some of the pros and cons of Mailchimp:


  • Their robust free tier makes it a great entry point for creators, startups, and small businesses.
  • They have an extensive library of integrations with 3rd-party apps and services.
  • They have a broad offering of tools for email marketing, with automation and reporting being the shining stars.


  • Simply put, Mailchimp's pricing is complex and costly. As you grow, you might find yourself in a place where you're paying an arm and a leg to maintain your list.
  • Although Mailchimp has a bunch of tools and features, the learning curve may be steep for new users.
  • Although support is available for free users, it's minimal compared to what paying customers get.

The bottom line: I've used Mailchimp for years and am relatively happy with the service. It's expensive, but their automation and integrations make it easy to plug into my business. I've thought about moving on from them. Still, I'm burrowed deeply into their ecosystem (a.k.a. I don't want to rebuild dozens of automations.)

Honestly, if I were starting from scratch, I'd consider using ConvertKit or Beehiiv over Mailchimp. But, if you need industry-leading integrations, Mailchimp is the standard.


ConvertKit was founded in 2013 around one thing: creators. In the past decade, they've improved their messaging and ESP features. They now serve people who create and sell products and services.

There are four main principles ConvertKit pledges to help creators with:

  1. Grow your audience
  2. Send beautiful emails
  3. Automate your marketing
  4. Earn an income

Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of ConvertKit:


  • They tailor their features exclusively to the needs of creators, bloggers, solopreneurs, and others in creative careers.
  • They have powerful automation and segmentation tools, making sending the right message to the right person at the right time easy.
  • They have integrated landing pages and form builders that allow users to start collecting emails right away.


  • Some of their features and tools can be overwhelming at first, especially if you're coming from another, more traditional ESP.
  • It's getting better, but they still lack many email design features at the start. You might want to bring your own templates for complex needs.
  • Although not as expensive as Mailchimp, ConvertKit's pricing can still be complex and cost more than other ESPs out there. Keep this in mind if you intend to grow quickly with paid or aggressive organic methods.

The bottom line: ConvertKit has become the defacto ESP for creators. They've grabbed that market and served that audience with real value and tools to make growth easier. ConvertKit has excellent leadership and is growing every year. You can't go wrong setting up shop on their servers.


And now we have the young upstart, Beehiiv founded by the second hire at Morning Brew (enough said). Taking many of the lessons learned from scaling that publication, Beehiiv has leveled the newsletter playing field for the rest of us.

Beehiiv is chock-full of exciting features. It has a built-in website for your newsletter, custom automations, a referral program, boosts, an ad network, subscriptions, content gating, and more.

There's A LOT to like about Beehiiv. It's a solid option, especially if you're starting out and intend to write a simple, text-based email newsletter. But that's where Beehiiv breaks down for me. I'll share more about this in a minute.

For now, let's look at the pros and cons of Beehiiv:


  • 100% designed with publishers in mind. To quote their home page, Beehiiv is "the newsletter platform built by newsletter people."
  • Beehiiv focuses on ensuring emails reach the inbox with high deliverability rates. No one does this to the extent Beehiiv does.
  • Their pricing is highly compelling. They have a $0 Launch plan with a lot of upside. Things get interesting when you hit the Grow plan—$42/mo for up to 10,000 subscribers and a TON of unique features. This is unheard of in the ESP community.


  • Because they're new, they have fewer integrations than other ESPs in the space. This will change with time (hopefully), but for now, it's the reality.
  • Beehiiv primarily serves newsletter delivery. But it does come at the expense of some audience management and segmentation features that come standard with Mailchimp and ConvertKit.
  • Finally, the biggest con, IMO, is the lack of email design customization. They essentially have one style of text-based email design, and let's just say… it's lacking polish. If you're a design-forward creator such as myself, it might be a deal-breaker (it is for me.)

But, that being said, Beehiiv's offering is so good that I log in every month to see if the email designer is better or if I can live with what they offer. So far, the answer has been "no" to both, but I'm still considering jumping to Beehiiv this year.

The bottom line: If you can get past having little control of the output of your newsletter design, Beehiiv is a fantastic option. They're delivering new features very fast. As of last disclosure, they've already made $3m ARR in 18 months (this number is likely much higher now.) They’ve raised capital and are poised to make big waves in the ESP space.

The final verdict

To wrap things up, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Beehiiv are the three ESPs worth your time, attention, and money.

Mailchimp is solid, but can be pricey. I've been happy with the service, but I'm actively looking to switch this year because of the cost.

ConvertKit is creator-driven, making it easy to build on their platform. The pricing can sometimes be confusing, but you can be confident in the platform and features you get.

Beehiiv is a startup that's really pushing the envelope on what newsletters can be. Their features are next-level, and the pricing is fantastic. If they were to focus a little bit more on design, they'd be a no-brainer for me.

Hopefully, this breakdown will help you pick the ESP that suits your needs. As I said earlier, do all your research upfront before pulling the trigger, as it can be challenging to unwind your list from an email platform.

If you have any questions about either of these ESPs, please don't hesitate to shoot me a note on X.